Do We Need Another Book on Taras Shevchenko?


Wednesday, March 9, 2022, 12:00pm to 1:30pm


Zoom Webinar and YouTube

Please join the Ukrainian Studies Program at Columbia University's Harriman Institute and the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute for a talk by writer, translator, and literary critic Volodymyr Dibrova, moderated by Mark Andryczyk (Harriman Institute).

Register for Zoom Webinar or Watch on YouTube

Given the pivotal position of T. Shevchenko in forging Ukrainian identity, it is important that his legacy as an artist (and first and foremost, as a poet) should not be the exclusive property of Shevchenko scholars and, worst of all, ideologues of different shapes and stripes. To turn a poet into an icon or a monument would have a very detrimental effect on anything he stands for, and on the whole Ukrainian national project. And that is why each generation of Ukrainians should have a fresh look at his life and his works. It is not only their right, it is their duty. And the basic questions they have to address are: Is he really a good poet? Does his life and work justify his status as a father figure of a modern nation? Does his writing still resonate with us? The book “Свіжим оком. Шевченко для сучасного читача” (Rereading Taras Shevchenko) tries to tackle all these issues.

The book is written from a perspective of a contemporary Ukrainian reader, properly educated, open-minded and neither politically, nor ideologically motivated. Thematically, the book discusses such issues as Ukrainian romanticism, the role of folklore, the predominance of emotions in the Bard’s poetry, Christianity and Paganism, the theme of Empire, his attitude towards Cossacks, his nearly metaphysical loneliness, the absence of Ukrainian literary infrastructure, as well as Shevchenko’s messianic aspirations.

This event is organized by the Ukrainian Studies Program at Columbia University's Harriman Institute and co-sponsored by the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University: